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Scott Amendola, the talented percussionist and composer, is interviewed by Derk Richardson, before an appreciative live audience, recorded on May 21, 2008, at the Marsh, in San Francisco, as part of the Improv:21 series sponsored by ROVA Arts. The event begins with Amendola improvising on his normal drum kit, augmented by an assortment of samplers, digital loops, carefully placed microphones, and other various electronic devices, not to mention the occasional sleigh bell or two. Following this virtuosic display of percussion prowess, Amendola then settles in for a fascinating discussion of his early influences, and the gradual evolution that has seen him, through collaboration with a variety of talented musicians and composers, expand his definition of what music is. Starting in childhood and continuing through high school Amendola reveals that he was first captured by the sounds of jazz, fusion, and pop music that was popular at that time. Later, as he pursued his musical education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Amendola began to trace a more experimental path, and has gradually incorporated electronics and elements from African and world music into his playing. Significant influences mentioned include Jack DeJohnette, Roy Haynes, The Meters, and Tony Allen, as well as regular collaborators such as Nels Cline and Matthias Bossi. Throughout his career Amendola credits his tendency of keeping an open mind to different concepts and new sounds and musical genres as key to his evolution as a musician and composer. Other revelations include the surprising fact that much of his composing is not done at the drum set, but instead is worked out at the piano or sung into a tape machine. And while he does occasionally compose specific parts for his band mates he often finds himself wondering where his own instrument is going to fit into his own compositions. A mystery that is eventually solved, much to the continued gratification and amazement of his many fans. Despite his avant-garde sensibilities, Amendola also has a great respect for melody and lyricism in music, and has learned that there is room enough for both in his work. He has found that one does not have to relentlessly display one’s experimental proficiency on every track, and that sometimes, soft and simple brushwork can be as illuminating as the quickest and most complicated back beats. With Amendola the key has always been a fascination with sound in all its variety and forms and in never closing ones mind to the full range of possibilities. It is an approach that has kept his music fresh and engaging, as is made clear in the concluding performance of his “Lullaby for Sacha” a composition inspired by a tune that came to Amendola as he was putting his young son to bed.
This is un-edited ROVA:Arts footage.
This movie is part of the collection: Other Minds Video Archive
Production Company: ROVA:Arts
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: ROVA:Arts; Improv:21; Scott Amendola; Panel Discussion; Lecture; Jazz; Improvisation; Percussion Music
Contact Information: For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: <a href="http://radiom.org">radiOM.org</a>
Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0